Thursday, February 10, 2005

Nice Rod

Just came across this passage in Hansard (OK OK!! I read Hansard. I have no life. I realise this) from Port Adelaide ALP member Rod Sawford. Sawford has been in that seat since 1988 but is extremely low-profile, to say the least. Quote a friend of mine who lives in his electorate: "I think there's legends about him attending a meeting once in the early 90s". Crikey describes him as "the last surviving parliamentarian from the once-dominant South Australian Centre Left", so his apparent political non-alliance gives him the opportunity to get away with being fairly critical about Liberal and his own party.

Anyway, here's the money quote:

The elections in the United States and Australia, so similar in so many ways, lead us to ask some pertinent questions. What sort of country is Australia becoming? Is Australia becoming a country with a line between church and state that is inviolate? Is Australia becoming a country where religion trumps science? Is Australia becoming a country where leaders mobilise deep moral energies to divide us from each other and the world? Is Australia becoming a country that interferes with the rights of women to control their bodies? Is Australia becoming a country that intrudes into people's sexual preferences? Is Australia becoming a country where religious energy is used in politics to promote division and intolerance, and is that energy really on God's agenda? These are important questions.

I have always had the view, one that I note is shared by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, that your religious viewpoint ought to be private. In fact, one of the great strengths of the Australian democracy is that that belief is a basic tenet of our nation. People seem to forget that the overwhelming majority of religions in the world are not democratic--never have been and never will be. Nor are countries democratic when religions control the nation. Those points have no impact whatsoever on the right of all Australians to believe in and practice whatever faith they choose, but people do not have the right to interfere in the political process and to push their own particular morality on the rest of the population.

Sadly, such level-headed pragmatism seems to be dying in our parliament as the "pushers" increase in numbers and political clout.

Howard was undeniably effective in coaxing back the far-right One Nation rednecks; in several seats the increase in the Liberal/National Party candidate's primary vote was directly proportionate to the fall in One Nation's. Assemblies of God - woops, I mean Family First - are a rising force but if they follow the pattern of ON they'll peak and die within a decade (fingers and toes). The Libs no doubt have a strategic plan to keep the RRR voters on-side for two-party-preferred purposes. I can only wonder if the ALP has a similar plan. Probably, since folk like Sawford also seem to be a spent force in the party. Looks like I might be singin' for Jesus sooner than I'd hoped...


At 11/2/05 2:46 pm, Blogger Mikeymoo said...

Don't worry, I read the hansard too. *cringes*


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